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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now 3 disc Bluray review
Normally I start with a review of the movie itself, but Apocalypse Now has been reviewed a million times and I imagine the majority of people reading this already know if they like it or not. For me, it is my favourite war movie that just got better with the Redux version, and this is the icing on the cake.

Anyway, onto what most people will be interested in,...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by DeeJay

versus
54 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Redux or Original?
The question is "do you buy Redux or the original"?. The additions to Redux detract from the storyline. It loses some of the urgency of the journey upriver to find Kurtz. The crew of the boat stealing Kilgore's surfboard is childish. The scene with the Playboy bunnies after their helicoper breaks down feels like it was filmed and added later. Also I don't think Capt...
Published on 18 May 2006 by S. Mitchem


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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now 3 disc Bluray review, 12 Jun 2011
Normally I start with a review of the movie itself, but Apocalypse Now has been reviewed a million times and I imagine the majority of people reading this already know if they like it or not. For me, it is my favourite war movie that just got better with the Redux version, and this is the icing on the cake.

Anyway, onto what most people will be interested in, the Bluray stuff.

The original and the Redux versions are both included on disc 1, and both look very good, not perfect, but probably as good as they can get. Colours are vibrant and blacks are solid - which is exactly what you want when you think of the infamous/famous Brando scene. At times the image is a bit soft, but that is a trait many films made in the 70's share and in no way does it reflect a lazy or poor transfer. There is some minor print damage here and there which you'll see as black and white flecks. It's a minor trifle to be honest though, the detail in the film is very good, with just the right amount of grain. The Master Audio track also deserves a mention as it is superb, a standout bluray soundtrack if ever I heard it.

Spread over the other 2 discs we have everything we could ask for really. The Heart of darkness documentary, new video interviews with Coppola and Sheen, original screen tests, additional deleted scenes, 200 storyboard drawings, a look at Apocalypse Nows then revolutionary 5.1 soundtrack, and loads more.

The boxset includes 5 exclusive artcards, a collectible booklet and a copy of the original 1979 theatrical program, very cool. The discs have their own fold out cardboard case, and it's all held together in a hard cardboard box (like the Alien anthology), so it feels feels well made, and looks great.

Without a doubt, this is the best version of Apocalypse Now available. Both versions of the film, the best extras with the best picture and sound quality. If you have any interest in this film then make your purhcase as soon as you can.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Now, 20 Jun 2011
I would like to concentrate on the audio side of the Movie rather than the movie itself, which has to be fair not gone without positive reviews.

Apocalypse Now
This was the first Blockbuster movie to use separate channels for surround channels and the subwoofer.

This 5.1 format is now the way that virtually all film soundtracks and recorded.
Coppolas' fanatical attention to detail and the huge amount of time put into the editing of the soundtrack ensures it is still one of the best tests for any surround system 30 years after it was released.

Here are some of the details that any quality surround system should reproduce.

The Ghost Helicopter Flyover
At the start of the film before the picture appears the soundtrack makes full use of the stereo rear channels. The helicopter should pan smoothly across the back of the room and then across the full width of the front of the room.

A surround system should reproduce this with smooth, even pans all around the room with no hot spots or gaps - and without making you aware of any speakers.

As the intro builds to a crescendo, listen for the buildup of layers from the synthesized helicopter, the Doors soundtrack and the sounds of Saigon and the ceiling fan.

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries
This classic piece of film shows the "air cavalry" playing music from their helicopters to terrify their intended victims. On most systems the sound of the orchestra is heard as part of the musical score rather than being clearly audible as a screechy, Public Address system being played from the helicopters.

Meet the Tiger
The use of surround sound is incredibly effective on this clip as the sounds of the jungle completely envelop you. It's critical that you're not aware of any of the speakers in your room or the illusion of "being there" will be shattered.

If you want to scare the life out of your friends this is also a great clip to use!

The B52 Raid
Arc light was the name given to the use of "strategic" B52 bombing in Vietnam. the sound pans between the rear channels - its coming from above rather than jumbled in with the front soundstage.

This film on Bluray with its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack should be in every movie buffs collection, and for me to be lucky enough to play this film on our super Steinway Model M cinema system, is just the icing on the cake.
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68 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT, buy it buy it buy it, 20 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This is an utterly brilliant, utterly unforgettable film, by some distance my preferred movie of all time and likely to remain so. No other film ive seen has the capacity to probe so deep into the human conscious with its stark imagery, climactic storyline and maddening atmosphere. Duvalls performance is possibly the best ive seen in a supporting role from any actor, perfectly grasping the arrogance of the perceived american presence in Vietnam, whilst also delivering several laugh out loud classic lines flawlessly.The military attack on the Vietnamese village is as exhilarating an experince as you will find in any motion picture, but from here on the film submerges itself in darkness as we travel up river, all the time the myth of colonel kurtz looming over the piece with a heightened sense of impending doom and anticipation.The whole film builds to the meeting of Kurtz, and as we finally approach the truly haunting closing setting we are as intrigued to meet him as Sheen. Whilst Brando is undoubtedly ott, it is a credit to his sheer aura that he is able to live up to this mythical character without us being dissappointed. Cinematically this film is a dream, every shot would make a fine still photo, and the ending will have you gripped to your seat. The images in this film will haunt your mind for days on end i assure you. It is ,of course, the best war movie ever made, but it is far more than that, it is a study in human nature and enthralling psychological viewing. If you dont like this film, you have to ask yourself, do you really like movies at all?
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematic masterpiece... easily Coppola's best., 9 Aug 2005
This review is from: Apocalypse Now [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
More than twenty-five years on since it's initial cinema release, Apocalypse Now still stands as one of the most powerful and hypnotic visionary depictions of the madness of war ever committed to film, with director Francis Ford Coppola using Joseph Conrad's legendary tome Heart of Darkness as the metaphorical backbone to this surreal, episodic and hallucinogenic rumination on man's capacity for tyranny, and his ultimate search for redemption.
The basic crux of the story remains simple, with Coppola drawing on certain elements from the aforementioned Heart of Darkness, as well as various influences from the classic Werner Herzog film, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (in which Klaus Kinski's jungle trip mirrors that of the soldiers here) to give weight to his own cinematic ideas, manifested here by the two warring characters of Kurtz and Willard. Unlike the majority of Vietnam related films (like the Dear Hunter, Platoon, Casualties of War and Full Metal Jacket, to name the most obvious) Coppola's film relegates the technical and factual aspects of warfare and the period in which the film is set to the background, in order to more closely examine the relationship between the soldiers (particularly the abovementioned Willard and Kurtz) in this intense and to some extent dreamlike situation.
Coppola's depiction of 'Nam bares no similarity to those films listed above... with his Vietnam becoming a place where surf-mad soldiers bombard villages from helicopters to the piercing strains of Wagner; playboy bunnies entertain the troops in the middle of the jungle; out-posts are attacked at night by unseen mercenaries, whilst monotonous carnival music plays incessantly in the background; whilst the whole climax of the film juxtaposes rock music, arcane philosophy, decapitation and the ritualistic slaughter of a bull.
Coppola's visuals - aided by cinematographer Vitorrio Storaro, production designer Dean Tavourlarus, and editor/sound designer Walter Murch - are powerful and lingering, with the film offering up a number of astounding sequences and set-pieces (as well as some of the standouts listed above, the opening scene - which finds Willard freaking out to the sound of the Doors in a Saigon hotel room, whilst superimposed images of napalm explosions and juxtapositions of ceiling fans and helicopter rotor-blades drift across the screen - is a great way to introduce the sense of madness and escalating atmosphere that will build throughout the film). Much like the aforementioned Aguirre, Apocalypse Now has a great narrative momentum, with Coppola and co-writer John Millius (...though apparently, much of his contributions were scaled down) keeping the film moving forwards, much like the soldiers in the boat, by offering up a strong and enticing mixture of surreal visions, philosophical discussions, and abrasive action.
It's probably the only film to take the idea of "the madness of war" and makes the description a reality, with the filmmakers evoking a Vietnam that is more like a carnival freak-show than something approaching the hyper-real depictions of combat found in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy (Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). Some have, and indeed, still, criticise the final act of the film, in which Martin Sheen's no-nonsense Willard finally comes face-to-face with Marlon Brando's barmy colonel Kurtz, in which the king of method acting turned up over-weight, moody and baring a serious grudge against the director and his co-stars. Regardless of this, I think Brando's performance is exceptional, as great as his portrayals in films like Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront, The Godfather and Last Tango In Paris, as he sits hunched over in the shadows, stroking his shaven head and mumbling about T.S. Eliot and the horrors of militaristic genocide.
His appearance in the film is as iconic as the scene with Robert Duvall on the beach, with that oft-quoted line "I love the smell of napalm in the morning... smells like... victory" and is as tense and as surreal as any of the film's major (for lack of a better word) action scenes. The hallucinogenic atmosphere established throughout ties in with another Herzog film, Heart of Glass, and would be an influence on the Russian anti-war drama, Come And See, which is probably more important than Coppola's film... though it's certainly less accessible, and a lot more abrasive. Everything about this film is perfectly judged... from the production design, location work, sound design and music (the two are really integrated seamlessly here) and the heavily-colour-tinted cinematography (...getting away from the documentary-like approach of war favoured by many other filmmakers in favour or something more ethereal).
I'm not that familiar with the re-cut "redux" version, released in 2001... being much too attached to this version after years of watching it as a teenage. Also, as someone else pointed out, it's much easier to trust the directorial instincts of the man who just made The Godfather and The Conversation... but not so easy to trust the instincts of the hack that made Jack, and The Rainmaker. Apocalypse Now, in it's original 1979 version, more than stands up as one of the greatest films of the 20th century...blending together the gorgeous, hypnotic transcendence of Storaro's cinematography and Coppola's idiosyncratic take on warfare, with some startling moments of real-horror, philosophy, reflection and character.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 23 Dec 2002
By A Customer
I was somewhat cynical about messing with such a landmark film as the 1979 cinema version however, in my opinion, this version adds significantly to the overall impact of the film. I'm not sure if others found this, but the original version is brilliant up to where Duval exits the script then i found the trip upriver a little tedious until the weird and wonderful Brando turns up. There were numerous continuity slips (why does the camoflage make up go from almost non existant to complete within a scene, why do the characters change in their attitude to each other in such a short time etc). Well all is answered with the introduction of the bunny girls and the more pivotal french plantation scene. The plantation scene just oozes the arrogant attitude of all colonial powers and beautifully contrasts the attempts to hold onto all the trappings of wealth and power with the anarchy of the war taking place around them. The journey upriver is now one of the most compelling pieces of cinema I've seen and much more in keeping with 'heart of darkness' in the graduation of the transition from civilisation to madness, paganism and despair.
From a technical point of view the enhanced soundtrack is amazing and the photography and lighting effect are superb (especially in the Kurtz camp sequences). The downsides are that it takes some stamina to last out the whole run time and you don't get the wake up call of the Jimi Hendrix 'machine gun' screaming feedback guitar ending which i think was in the original.
Invest in a projector and a large screen, sit back and enjoy!
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "anti-Private Ryan" movie, but still excellent!, 8 Jan 2003
By 
A. J. Kirke "alexis kirke" (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a Vietnam war film based on the short story "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad. Originally set in the Congo back in the beginning of the ivory trade there, director Coppola has translated it to Vietnam in the 60s. Like "Saving Private Ryan" it is the story of soldiers journeying on a mission through a war-torn country. However, unlike Private Ryan, the film does not stand out for its exciting battle scenes, or message of redemption. In fact there is only one real battle scene in the movie, and if anything, it ends with an anti-redemption.
The story goes: A top US Colonel, played by Marlon Brando, who was "one of us", is now a loose cannon and has disappeared into Cambodia and is committing atrocities with his own loyal private army. A seriously screwed-up and shell-shocked special forces soldier played by Martin Sheen is sent up the river by the US military on a secret mission to assassinate the Colonel. The director had a hellish time making this movie apparently, including going millions over budget (he put some of his own money in), and a lot of trouble with the actors. However what came out of the sometimes improvised filming was a brilliant journey into the heart of darkness, as Sheen travels up the river.
A series of "set pieces" occur during the journey up the river, some of which were removed in the original theatrical cut, and have been returned in the Redux cut. Some of these set pieces have become famous, for example the helicopters swooping in to attack a Vietcong occupied village, playing "Ride of the Valkyries" at full blast. The most satisfying parts of the movie however, are when Sheen reaches the true heart of darkness, the Colonel's camp. What transpires here cannot really be described adequately in words. You have to watch the whole movie to appreciate the end of the journey.
Another aspect of this movie worth mentioning is the soundtrack. It is a product of the times chronicled by the movie, with the Doors and the Rolling Stones included. Actually the first part of the movie is a great chronicle of some of the spirit of 60s.
Things to watch out for: a brief appearance by Harrison Ford, the reading of the "Heart of Darkness"-related TS Eliot poem "Hollow Men" by Marlon Brando, and Sheen's alcohol-induced breakdown scene in his bedroom at the beginning (the actor was not acting at the time!)
Overall, this is great. A spectacular intelligent, beautifully filmed, rock-and-roll, poetic journey, with an ending that will echo in your mind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I own the DVD - should I buy the Blu-ray?, 17 Aug 2011
There has been so much written about this movie I will try to keep it short. As someone who didn't like the longer 'redux' that came out ten years ago it is brilliant to now be able to watch the original movie sharpened up so much on blu-ray. This set also gives you the choice to watch the redux version should you wish to. Coppola's Commentary is as good as any for insights into his style of film making, his ideas and how he works with actors. Both versions carry a commentary track - it seems that Francis sat down and gave one full commentary and two have been made from that, with different time cues to run over either version of the movie. Nice.

Disc two has a wealth of new material including an hour long chat between Francis and Martin Sheen also Francis talking with John Milius, the former very good the latter brilliant. Enjoy the moment where Milius points out the Playboy Bunny scene is like that of the Greek (mythology) Sirens, his relief when he finally saw the film that Coppoala had not included the latter scene where the soldiers meet back up with them down river and his grin when he reminds Francis about putting it back into Redux. This movie came out around the time 5.1 audio was being developed and there are two features that really highlight that.

Disc 3 is Eleanor Coppola's brilliant documentary Hearts Of Darkness, certainly one of the best 'making of' documentaries I've ever seen. Unlike the modern day infomercials we get these days, this is a movie that shows the production problems, budget issues and filmmaker approaching breakdown. The commentary from Eleanor and Francis is just as good as the feature.

Apocalypse Now is over thirty years old but looking at this version you wouldn't know it. If you are thinking about picking up a copy of Apocalypse Now then this is the one to get. If you own the Redux DVD (as I do) this is still the one to get.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As a movie it doesn't quite work. As an experience it's great., 16 May 2007
This review is from: Apocalypse Now [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it's more of an experience than a proper film. It's slow and episodic. Parts are excellent, parts are dull. When it works, it really works well. Many memorable scenes pile up against each other during the first 100 minutes. The last 40 minutes are ponderous and boring.

It's my favourite Vietnam war film as I love it's drugged up, trippy, horrific tone. And the fetishising of the helicopters makes it even better. Coppola's not afraid to make war look exciting and enjoyable (if you're winning). I doubt there's even a shred of real life accuracy to it, but as an impression of hell, it's unbeatable. You should read the book Jarhead to see how much this film means to American soldiers. They want to live it.

The opening is one my favourite bits of film. It's such a strange opening shot as the camera stares motionless at some trees for about a minute. The parts of two helicopters fly by with their sounded muted. Then a giant, but silent, explosion destroys the trees. The weirdest part is that the camera than moves to the right to take in more of the devastation. It's such a strange camera move. Then we're in Martin Sheen's hotel room as he goes crazy waiting to be put back in the jungle. The Doors song The End compliments the opening perfectly.

The first time I tried to watch it I gave up after the helicopter attack on the village. It didn't live up to its reputation as being one of the greatest scenes in film history.

Second attempt, I gave up at the Doolong Bridge scene as it was incredibly dull.

I got to the end of it on my third attempt. And I'm glad I did, even if it was just to be able to say I was there, I've seen it. Since then I've seen it from start to finish about four times in total. I think it gets easier to sit through the more you see it. Scenes that didn't do it for me first time round started to work for me the second time around. I find it hard to imagine I didn't like the Doolong Bridge scene first time I saw it.

I've not seen the Redux version. In my opinion they went the wrong way with it. Instead of adding 45 minutes to it, they should have removed about 30 minutes. No matter how you look at it, the ending is terrible. In the Redux version they made it longer?!

Side note: I have seen the 90 minute Heart of Darkness making of documentary and I have read Notes (Coppola's wife's diary of the making of it). Notes is boring and pales into insignificance when compared to the documentary. Heart of Darkness has lots of on set footage and Coppola gives some interesting interviews. It's a good documentary but I still think Peter Biskind's book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls covers the making of the film better, even if it isn't anywhere near as detailed.

NOTE 14/8/12: ***SPOILERS***

I recently watched Apocalypse Now again (not the Redux version). I think I have a pretty decent solution to the famously fumbled climax.

The compound sequence up to Brando delivering that great line about Willard being an, "errand boy sent by grocery clerks", is all okay. It's from there that it loses all momentum and becomes boring. What they should have done is cut from that line to Willard back on the boat getting ready to kill Kurtz. All they needed to do is put in a Michael Herr scripted voice over that basically says, "He either didn't fear me, or didn't care that I intended to kill him. So he let me go. I was free to roam his man made hell or leave. And I wasn't leaving without finishing my mission". Also they could use it to clarify any resulting poltholes. Then the film just goes straight into Willard creeping into the compound and killing Kurtz.

This way the film loses about ten or so minutes of needless waffle. I think it would result in a much better, more watchable ending that doesn't test your patience half as much.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete but essential, 12 Oct 2006
By 
W. Leitch "Radio Raheem" (Highlands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The film is an all time classic but you know that so onto the discs...!

This set includes the 1979 theatrical cut and the brilliant 2001 'Redux' director's cut on a 2-disc set with extras.

The first reaction to Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier is that one of the all-time great documentaries is missing. Hearts of Darkness: A filmmaker's apocalypse was filmed by Francis Ford Coppola's wife Eleanor and released in cinemas as a stand alone feature in 1991. It made infamous the strain of filming the movie and Coppola's intense behaviour.

The discs come with a fold out digipack with a painting of Marlon Brando with the Title logo from the poster stamped on it. This is housed in an attractive slip case designed like a Military folder. A note on the digipack explains that much has been made the juicier side of the making of story and that they'd like to focus on the technical achievement of the film and giving credit to people previously overlooked, so the omission could be deliberate. The (new) featurette's that are included have some fantastic behind the scenes footage as the soundtrack was created and on set scenes. There's footage of an early cut of the film with The Doors the only soundtrack, a Coppola interview with Roger Ebert in 2001 and some incredible deleted scenes the highlight for me being the footage of the tribe at the Kurtz compound set singing 'Light My Fire'.

The main draw is the commentary and as usual Coppola is good value, a really special commentary that includes less obvious trivia such as how close Terrence Malick (Director of Badlands etc) and Talia Shire (Francis' Sister, Connie in The Godfather Trilogy) was to appearing in the film and how luck played its part in creating the famous opening sequence.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse now, 10 Aug 2006
By 
Graham S. Clark "Graham" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Apocalypse Now [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
First of all, let me start off by saying if you are after an authentic, military war film about Vietnam, please turn away now. While Apocalypse Now is based on the Vietnam war, you'll find it is more of a drama than a balls to the wall war film. If you want the proper vietnam movies, go and see Full Metal Jacket, Platoon or even Hamburger Hill. This movie is more of a story and a cinematic experience as opposed to realism and authenticity of the war in 'Nam.

Now, with that out of the way, Apocalypse Now is hands down my faveourite film of all time. I saw this when I was 14 and it changed how I looked at movies forever. At first I found it wierd, but I was somehow compelled to watch it all the way through (even though it was the horrible Redux version with all those unnescasary scenes stuck in) and when I got to the end I found myself thinking "ok, that was sort of wierd, but god damn I like it" It made me feel all strange inside. Much like being in love. (except not with the film, that would be slightly strange)

I really can't put my finger on why I love this film, so i'll just cite a few reasons. It's the way Coppolla conveys mayhem and madness, a world of screwballs and madmen going insane, where Kurtz appears to be the king of the madmen, controlling both friend and foe alike as if he were a puppet master. Maybe it's the films quirky sense of humour ("charlie don't surf!") or maybe it's the insight into the mind of Williard, a man who has been rendered dull and muffled by the horrors and madness of the Vietnam war, who hasn't got anything else to his life apart from killing for a country that doesn't care about him. But maybe it's the relationship between the guys on the boat.

Then we get to the end of the film - kurtz compound. I won't give to much away but everytime I watch the end I am completley and utterly sucked in to it. The direction here is untouchable. Well done, coppolla.

In short, if you're a 'nam buff and are looking for the authentic war experience, please see the afore mentioned movies. If you are, however, a movie lover and have yet to see this classic, buy it now. Avoid the Redux though, this version adds un-needed scenes to an otherwise amazing film.
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